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And on my right hand, on a white ground, are the following most blessed and glorious words, to show the blessed portion of all the saved:
While over my head are the solemn words
As if to say to all who enter here, “God knows whether you are travelling to death and wrath, or whether you are journeying to endless bliss."
Oh, reader, ask yourself in the days of your youth, whether your swiftly-beating pulse is the rapid running sand of the glass of your life, which the moment it has run out will lead to the dark pit of everlasting death, or whether your young hearts' beatings are only the swift steps that lead a new-born soul to the world of endless life.
I would gladly write to you upon cheerful subjects, but the sense I have of the value of your souls will move my hand to talk to you of, and set before you, death and life.
Death, moral death, is the fell monster, the dread serpent, that encloses in its folds all who
have never been made partakers of the quickening grace of God.
Death, legal death, is the sad sentence that hangs over the heads of all who are still in their sins. "The wages of sin is death." Death bodily, death awaits you all. "It is appointed unto men once to die." The living know that they shall die," and death, eternal death, awaits the graceless soul. The undying worm and the unquenchable fire must be the awful portion of all who die in their sins.
I have read in an American publication of an awful place in America called "the death valley." I will give you an extract that describes this fearful spot :
THE DEATH VALLEY. Among_the_wonders of our Pacific slope are many weird and terrible things, and not the least of them is the frequently mentioned 'Death Valley,' which is thus described by a correspondent of the Philadelphia Press, writing from Camp Cody, on the Mojave river in California: Eighty miles north-west of this camp is the well-known and much-dreaded Death Valley. It is said to be lower than the level of the sea, and wholly destitute of water. Mr. Spears, our intelligent guide, who visited this remarkable valley several times, gave me the following account of it, with the reason for its terrible name:-' valley is some fifty miles long by thirty in breadth, and save at two points, it is wholly encircled by mountains, up whose steep sides it is impossible for any but expert climbers to ascend. It is devoid of vegetation, and the shadow of bird or wild beast never darkened its white, glaring sand. In the early days trains of emigrants bound for California passed, under the direction of
guides, to the south of Death Valley, by what is now known as the Old Mormon Road.' In the year 1850 a large train, with some 300 emigrants, mostly from Illinois and Missouri, came south from Salt Lake, guided by a Mormon. When near Death Valley a dissent broke out in a part of the train, and twenty-one families came to the conclusion that the Mormon knew nothing about the country, so they appointed one of their number a leader, and broke off from the main party. This leader turned due west; so with the people and wagons and flocks he travelled for three days, and then descended into the broad valley, whose treacherous mirage promised water. They reached the centre, but only the white, glaring sand, bounded by the scorched peaks, met their gaze on every hand. Around the valley they wandered, and one by one the men died, and the panting flocks stretched themselves in death under the
hot sun. Then the children, crying for water, died at their mothers' breasts, and with swollen tongues and burning vitals the mothers followed. Waggon after waggon was abandoned, and strong men tottered, and raved, and died. After a week's wandering, a dozen survivors found some water in the hollow of a rock in the mountains. It lasted but a short time, then all perished but two, who, through some miraculous means, got out of the valley and followed the trail of their former companions. Eighty-seven persons, with hundreds of animals, perished in this fearful place, and since then the name of Death Valley has been applied to it. Mr. Spears says that when he visited it last winter, after the lapse of eighteen years, he found the waggons still complete, the iron work and tires bright, and the shrivelled skeletons lying in many places side by side.""
I can imagine my readers exclaiming many times before finishing the extract: What an awful place! How dreadful to be in it!" Do not be startled, dear reader, when I tell you
YOU WERE BORN IN A DEATH-VALLEY; for what is this poor fallen world where sin is reigning unto death but a death-valley? But thanks to rich grace, God hath sent His dear Son into this death-valley, and He has died that guilty sinners doomed to death might live, and now He is no longer agonizing in the death-valley, but triumphing on the mountain of life-the Zion of grace, "where the Lord commandeth the blessing, even life for evermore." Oh, happy those whom the Spirit of God, by means of the word, makes wise to fly, mourning for sin, and seeking mercy through blood, from the death-valley of the world to the life-mountain of grace. For never did a trembling sinner's foot tread confidingly the blood-besprinkled mountain of grace but he found there the Lord's blessing, even life for evermore. that believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life." The wounds of the Son of God open a way out of the death-valley to the life-mountain. Dear reader, have you in heart believed yourself in the death-valley among the fallen children of Adam, and do you long to leave this land of darkness and the shadow of death without any order? Let me assure you that the only way out is faith in the cross of Jesus. When the Philippian gaoler was convinced that he was in this deathvalley, a sinner condemned to die, he cried out, "What must I do to be saved ?" And Paul, led by the Spirit, directed him where I direct you: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." And the blessed Spirit of God owned His own appointed means to that terrified gaoler,
who fled to the wounds of Jesus, and found they led Him from the valley of death and woe, to the mountain of life and joy, for he "rejoiced, believing in God."
Let me assure you, dear reader, that if sin never gives you such pain here that you must forsake it, it will give you the pain of everlasting fire hereafter. If your own righteousness never appears to you in its true colours, worthless, filthy rags, so that you dare not trust it, you will perish in your own deceivings; and if Jesus and His cross never gives you below such comfort as nothing but faith in Jesus can impart, you will never taste the joys of bliss above.
Four things are known on earth, with more or less distinctness by all who go to heaven. First, Awakening to feel they are by their sins in the valley of death. Second: Conviction that they never can escape that valley by their own righteousness or a mere profession. Third: Light to see that Jesus and Jesus only is the way from the valley of death to the mountain of life, and that no foot can tread that way but the foot of living faith. Fourthly: Faith to fly to that gate of life, the riven side of Jesus, and through that gate of life to escape from the death-valley, and tread the life-mountain.
Dear young friends, how many of you are learning these things experimentally in the days of your youth?
The greatest end of the publication of the LITTLE GLEANER is the salvation of souls. May all believers who read it join in prayer that God will bless for saving purposes to the young the efforts of their willing friend, THE EDITOR.